Naomi Markham, Junior Representative Coordinator – Coffs Harbour Basketball and team manager for the U14 women’s team shares some fantastic news … the U14 women’s team is off to contest the Australian Championships in Adelaide during October!
Please give us a bit of background info on the Coffs Harbour Basketball Association and its teams…
Our home court and office are located at Sportz Central, home of the Suns.
Our Men’s Senior – Wednesday evenings, 18 teams, approx. 180 players. Tuesday evenings are for the Women’s Domestic – 22 teams, with approx. 200 players. Friday afternoon/nights are for the high schools, Years 7 – 10, 28 teams with approx. 220 players. Saturdays are for primary schools, Years 2 – 6, 46 teams with approx. 360 players.
What competitions/programs is the Association involved with throughout the year?
We play domestic competitions − two seasons a year, summer and winter, all year round except for school holidays.
Future Stars Program: a talent Identification program for local domestic players U12 – designed to have participants undertake a training program that gives an insight into Junior representative training – in the hope players may elect to move into the Junior representative program.
Representative Coffs Harbour Suns – we have 12 Junior representative teams and two Senior representative teams, over 160 representative players and coaching staff. These teams train two afternoons a week during the season under volunteer coaches.
Referee Program: we have the strongest referee program in the north, with referees officiating at domestic level, representative level and national levels.
Our Association continues to thrive due to the hard work of volunteers, coaches and referees.
There’s been some great news for your U14 women’s team, with the players gaining selection to the Australian Championships in Adelaide. How many will be travelling to Adelaide, and when do they leave?
The majority of the 10 player team have been together for two years, with a goal of making selections to the Australian Championships – which they achieved this year, after placing runner up at the U14 NSW Country Championship. The tournament is held across 1 – 7 October. This is only the third women’s team in Coffs Harbour basketball history to make this prestigious tournament.
They are flying to Adelaide via Qantas, a total of 13 players and coaching staff, and 20 family and friends are also travelling with the team to offer support.
Special mention must be made of the tremendous effort and achievement of volunteer Coach Ashley Markham, who has been working tirelessly with this team to reach this goal; it’s a credit to her age and ability as a coach. During the season, she has had to coach against ex NBL players and seasoned coaches who have coached at state and national level. Despite this, she has racked up some amazing wins. She has been following the coaching philosophy put in place by Development Manager Matt Shanahan, who will also be going with the team to offer assistance and support. This is greatly appreciated by Ashley and the players.
How excited are the girls about their selection?
The girls are very excited and are currently training 4 days a week leading into this tournament, so putting in a lot of effort and work. It can be hard to maintain their momentum with constant training, so Ashley and Matt have been ensuring they keep the training relevant.
The girls have also entered and participated in A Grade in the Senior Women’s competition, to give them some match fitness and competition against experienced and tough opposition, as this grade has most players drawn from our State League Women’s program and our U18 and U16 women representative teams. The training sessions are very physical and designed to not only build on their basketball skills, but also target their fitness and stability, as the games are of extremely high intensity and they need to be able to play at a high level for the entire game.
What led up to the team’s selection for the Championships – how many matches did they have to play?
The 2012 U14 girls for Coffs Harbour were selected in November 2011 and have been preparing since then by participating in the inaugural BNSW Waratah Country Premier League, playing over 16 games across 5 weekends, travelling to Gosford, Newcastle, Illawarra etc, playing against Gosford, Illawarra, Maitland, Albury, and Newcastle, and gained selection to the finals of the State Championships.
Given, as you said, that this is only the third female team in Coffs basketball history to make it to the Championships, the competition must generally be very tough. How much training and effort did the girls have to put in each week to achieve this goal?
The girls initially commenced 2 x 1.5 hour trainings a week, increasing to 3 sessions and on making selection to the Australian Championships, are now training 4 times a week, including an early morning session and participating in Tuesday women’s comp, as mentioned. This will increase to daily training leading into the tournament.
How can members of the public help the team – are you fundraising at the moment?
The team and parents are madly fundraising. We have held a Fashion Parade, a Monster Raffle, with generous donations from the business community, and Chocolates, BBQs, Trivia Nights are in the plan. For flights, accommodation and all other expenses, we need to raise about $20,000. At present, we have almost reached $15, 000.
What are some of the expectations from the team members about what they’ll have to face in SA?
They will play one game a day, two training sessions, play offs etc, and have no reservations they are going to be very tough games. As a small country association, they will be going up against powerhouses such as Melbourne Tigers, who have a much bigger drawing area. But we have a quick and skilled team who will give it their best; they will be the underdogs, but have been proving they are more than capable during this season of upsetting some of the more fancied teams. We hope to have the opportunity to see some sights in Adelaide as well.
What other news does the Association have to share …
Three Junior players selected in Basketball New South Wales (BNSW) NSW State teams; 5 Junior players selected to participate in BNSW intensive Training Program; 13 Junior players selected to attend BNSW Waratah All Star; 12 U12 players selected to attend BNSW Jamboree; 12 Junior players selected in BNSW Talented Athlete Program; 3 Junior players have been selected in the state representative team; 6 Junior players selected in the national intensive training program; Senior Representative – our Senior Men’s State League team have secured our first ever NSW State League Men’s Championship trophy 2012, this season, hot on the heels of our State League Women’s team last year securing this first ever title, and making the finals of this championship this season again was a tremendous effort by our Senior Women’s team.
Domestically, we are introducing 3 on 3 basketball on a Friday evening, with a 3 on 3 tournament to be held end of October; we’ve introduced Little Dribblers for kids aged 3 – 6 on Saturday mornings.
If people are interested in finding out more info about the Coffs Harbour Basketball Association, joining a team, or helping with fundraising, visit:
Interview by Jo Atkins.
This story was published in issue 25 of the Coffs Coast Focus